28 September 2020

Three Boxes of Time Travel

 I've decided that now I'm home forever,  I might as well excavate Monica's Closet. Like, for real, though.  Usually it's an organize things into boxes and move on with my life.  It feels like it's time to really, really, really go through stuff.  I blame The End Times.

It's been about a year since I've tried to tackle this task.  Usually it happens around the holidays because I have to put all the holiday decorations up and find the Christmas cards.  But time is a construct and nothing matters anymore.  I may put out Christmas decorations. HalloThanksChrismakuhEve.

Like always, I had random crap piled up around the storage totes.  Birthday cards, picture frames, empty boxes, projects that I'm going to get to later. (I am. Am too!)

Because I'm an adult, I had a debate about whether or not to keep empty boxes.  The holidays are coming and there are eight children in my family.  Standing there, something popped in my head that my friend used to say when we were younger: "They sell those at the store every day."  So, into recycling the boxes went.

I have a small tote of electronical things.  Phone cases, cords to any electronical thing that ever existed, ear buds, old tablets, etc.  I dumped it out onto the kitchen counter and sorted it.  Because technology is expired before it's even released, most of the stuff is junk.  All the cases, many of the cords and a few odds and ends also went into recycling/goodwill.

Fall decorations were in two totes.  I've emptied them both and one of the totes is going outside to the tool shed.  This is going to create a Survivor episode for Fall decorations in two months.  One tote per season seems reasonable.  Except for Christmas, don't be silly.

Because I've worked organizing everyone's photos except for mine, there was a small box of unsorted  photos.  I've set those aside for my next project after Monica's Closet.

(Reminder why it's called Monica's Closet: Annual Excavation and Monica's Closet )

As mentioned in the above post link, there are a few totes of nostalgia. Well, three large totes. They've moved from house to house to house since 1990-ish.  It's well beyond time to go through all of that and distribute it to somewhere other than here.  Maybe the kids will want something, maybe it will all go to goodwill.  We'll see.  

There is a train museum literally minutes from our house and I have a box of trains, tracks, etc. that I'm trying to give away.  I emailed once (the only way to reach them) with no success.  I've just emailed again with hopes someone will answer.  It's a long story but I ended up with lots of trains years ago, including vintage train sets.  They've been in our closet for years and it's time for them to go.

I have a nearly two foot tall, plastic snoopy piggy bank that has travelled everywhere with me since childhood.  It feels like it's time for him to live somewhere other than the closet. But I'm having separation anxiety.  I don't remember ever not having snoopy with me.  Years and Years ago, it was filled with change and we took it to a coin exchange to pay for something racecar.  We were competing for a championship and broke a.f. and needed something.  Maybe I should put him up with the trophies, he did the work.

Kevin is a non-sentimental human.  Get rid of all.the.things he says.  Until I start to pull out his old hot wheels, GI Joes, and records.  Then he's awash with happiness as he remembers.  Some of his hot wheels are going to Nephew (not Five, but Nephew) the records are going to C2 Nephew, our bohemian child.  The rest is already packed up again and snugly stored back in the closet.

Hmm, what else?  Well, here are some of the treasures I've found:

A perfume bottle...it was in a small box labelled Tony.  Now I'm sneezy and wheezy.  As he ended up in juvenile detention, this seems appropriate.

These cuffs from high school.  Redneck punk. Cafeteria utensils.  Yep, actually wore these. I've mentioned the IDGAF was strong in me back then.

I found my childhood glasses, in their original case.  I wore these for years and years.  My mom said because I wouldn't wear anything else - which could be true - but I suspect that we were also poor and glasses are expensive.  Strangely, I can read with them.  They're THICK, omg. I never post personal photos but look:

                                                           1976 and 2020.  Same glasses

I still have some stuffies from my childhood.  They are, um, deteriorated and not just a little bit terrifying.  One is a knock-off Oscar the Grouch.  One is a Snoopy stuffy that I've washed in hopes of resurrecting. There is a legit Raggedy Annie.  Then there's this terrifying little bastard:

This guy actually makes Kevin nervous and I get it.  So, here's his origin story:  My paternal grandmother, my favorite who passed when I was five, always gave me gifts.  Not big things because she wasn't well-off but things like books, stuffies, Red Rose Tea figurines, pretty things.  

This guy was covered in rabbit fur, so he was super soft and he was the perfect size to fit in my little hands.  And here's where he meets a troubled childhood and a kid with sensory issues.  I think his ear was the first to go.  I don't remember the tongue but he must have had one.  And he didn't used to be bald.  I petted the very fur right off of him.  So he's bald and looks like he has a terrible skin condition. There is no resurrection story for him.  Yet, I can't bring myself to toss him or give him to Lucy.  


Okay, status update. I've texted photos of stuff to my childhood bff, Nephew and the Nieces.  Some of the stuff is going to them and some of it to the goodwill.  Childhood bff was all "HARD PASS" on having letters we wrote to each other from middle school.  The kids are each taking some small things. Another sizable portion is going into recycling. 

I'm to the This Is Never Getting Done phase.  The goal is to consolidate the three totes into one.  Right now this seems insurmountable. But I already have two totes empty and one overflowing.

I have a plan.  Everything is kind of piled into the overflowing tote, I bought two scrapbooks today after going to recycling, and will put everything possible into those.  Hypothetically, those scrapbooks can then go with the photo albums and the items remaining will fit into one tote.  

I'm done for a few days though. My psyche can't take anymore nostalgia.   

And that stuffie keeps dead-eyeing me.

25 September 2020

It's Officially Fall

 It is bucketing down rain still and it looks like one of those days in the beautiful PNW that the sun doesn't come up at all.  

It's Friday which is coffee friends and walkies day.  I don't know that it's going to happen today though

Happy Fall, y'all.  Find your happy wherever you can.

24 September 2020

Six Months

 Has everyone seen the thread/article about the Six Month Wall?  I read it on the twitter and retweeted it then it popped on the facebook and I reposted it.  And here it is:  Six Months

This spoke to me because I was feeling a little low.  My motivation had disappeared, I was sleeping in instead of getting up for work, I found myself binge-watching NCIS.  I chalked it up to the season and weather change.  And that still could be some of it. 

As I read this though, I felt it.  It feels like This is Never Going to End.  We probably have another six months of this, at least.  While we have a rhythm and we've kind of figured this out, it's still Not Normal.  We keep trying to grasp at anything we can find that feels normal.  For me, it was watching the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday.  For the first time in six month, something felt familiar and comfortable.

We're starting to look toward the holidays now.  I keep telling my BFF that I'm going to get out my Fall and Halloween decorations.  I still haven't.  I open the door to Monica's Closet and just sigh.  I know that if I just suck it up buttercup, I will feel better.  Yet, here I am.

The thing that I keep reminding myself is that this is all temporary.  This mood will pass, six months will happen faster than we can imagine.  Hopefully a year from now the memory of this will have begun to fade.

In the meanwhile, this article made me feel better.  

And I'm listening to this TedTalk and trauma presentation again. It had a huge impact on me a few years ago. Making me see the bigger picture when it comes to how the current atmosphere, if you will, is affecting us, whether we think it is or not.  It's geared toward social services and first responders but I really, honestly feel like we are all social service workers and first responders right now.   Beyond the Cliff and Re+Fuel

Again, just because you're not a first responder or work in social services doesn't mean these don't apply to you.  We are all essential workers right now.

But that's pretty heavy stuff to listen to, even though it's enlightening. So here are two things that have gotten me through this week:

I protest-downloaded the ticktock app the other day.  Once I figured out how to set the algorithm, OMG.  I haven't laughed like that in a while.  Go do it.  Make sure you hit the heart on the ones you like so the algorithm will know what to show you. Mine is set to dogs and a few really great humans that make me smile.  (look up #MyBoy or #StepDad if you need a good cry)

Human of New York on the social media is featuring the autobiography of Tanqueray in conjunction with a gofundme that has reached a staggering amount and gives you faith in this world again.

Meanwhile, I'm going to go get my Halloween decorations out.  No, I am. Seriously. I AM.

21 September 2020

Incident, Arraignment, Trial, Decision

Kevin and I never/rarely fight.  I mean, sure, we get impatient or snarky occasionally because: humans. When we do fight, it is ALWAYS about his brother.  ALWAYS.  Sometimes about the racecar/vehicles but really, it's always about his brother.

A fight though is like super rare. We're living in the End Times so why not. Let's go.

The Incident:

This go-around was started because there is a project requiring tech support for the racecar.  Kevin had planned for us to work on this on Saturday.  Then unexpectedly he had Friday afternoon off.  I mentioned that we could work on the project now instead of Saturday then he would have his whole weekend free. 

This was met with a curt no because his brother is due home soon and "I don't need that stress."

Sigh.  "That stress" is because when his brother comes to our house (shop, never in the house) it is awkward because we don't speak really.  Summed up:  I shut down and/or disengage when his brother is around. I just CAN'T around him.  In turn, he doesn't acknowledge my presence.

My point was: Can this ONE TIME not be about his brother?  Kevin's point was: It's not worth it, we had a plan and stick with the plan. My response was This is exhausting and ridiculous. 

The Summary of The Issue of His Brother:

I've mentioned the brother before but here's the nutshell:  He has untreated depression and anxiety, which also results in lots of narcissism. His behavior has been excused and enabled his whole adult life.  As a result, he has disrespected-abused every single member of this family from Kevin, to the parents, to his grandchildren. 

It's NEVER About him.  Never.  It's always someone else's fault. Globally.

Exhibits A,B, C, D:

(because this isn't simply he's a debbie downer, or nitpicker, or lazy. He's all these things And:)

At Christmas, he yelled at one of the bigs for....existing?  Young Nephew literally just walked into the kitchen and he yelled at him to get out.  When he walked back into the living room, I hugged him and said "I'm sorry that your grandpa is an d*&k. We love you."  (One nephew asked at Easter "Why doesn't he like us?"  How heartbreaking is that?)

When his son nearly died (not hyperbole, literally almost died) and was discharged from the hospital, he had to live with them. Because he couldn't return to five children in his own house with a depleted immune system.  On that same day, my sister-in-law was in a terrible car accident that required her to be on bedrest for weeks.  HE went to bed with a COLD for a week, requiring another family member to come live with them to help care for the nephew and his wife, and now him.  A COLD.  Or should I say a "cold."

One of the last times the ambulance was called to the house for my mother-in-law, he didn't come to the house. He stayed in bed because "Dad said I could".  As we watched her dying in front of us and paramedics doing CPR and shock in the ambulance IN THE DRIVEWAY, he stayed in bed. Leaving Kevin and I to deal with all.of.that. Then complained he was tired the next day at the hospital.  

This is the last one, even though I can go on for days without exaggeration.  Remember when we didn't have power for four days?  FOUR DAYS.  The first day, Kevin came home from work early to ensure everyone was taken care of. Including using our generator for his parents because THEIRS WAS AT THE BROTHERS HOUSE.  When the brother got home from work -at regular time-, he stood in the driveway in the rain and pouted because we were going to dinner and "he didn't know what to do. The generator was out of gas."  (he's a millwright in case you're wondering what his vocation; a mechanic for all types of engines)

 So, there's some solid examples of why I just can't with him. This isn't just little personality quirks; it's abusive and manipulative behavior.

 This isn't addressing the impact he has on my husband because this needs to be a post and not a novel. You can guess. 

Complaintant's Statement: 

I was married to Satan who also had these behaviors and I had an alcoholic father who has these behaviors.  So THANK YOU UNIVERSE for putting yet another male figure in my life with these qualities.  It could be said that I keep having these "lessons" put in my path because I haven't learned yet and to that I offer a polite, yet emphatic: f&*k off.

I have little to zero patience with people who are rude or disrespectful.  I've worked hard on not engaging and trying to let it go.  However, this is thirty years of experiences with him and, remember: he lives next door.

The Brother's Narrative, probably:

Anything I say or do, facial expressions or actions, are ALL ABOUT HIM no matter what.  

If I say something: there's perceived tone. Or "Why did she say that?" Or "She knows I think that..."  

If I'm working and concentrating, I'm being rude.  (working on racecar or the racecar computer, mostly in this situation, which bugs because I'm a girl, and he isn't "needed")

If I disengage, I'm being rude or standoffish. Defining "disengage" as I will excuse myself or not go out if he's in the shop, I will go straight into the car trailer if we're racing, I will opt out of going somewhere.

It has been said multiple times that I treat our CANADIAN FRIENDS completely different than him.   (Ummm...YEAH.)

My Rebuttal Argument:

He is the only person who treats me "like a girl" when it comes to the racecar.  I have lots of knowledge that he doesn't possess because it's MY racecar and I hear/read/work on/about it all the time. (He does very little work on his racecar.  Nephew does most of it, with Kevin's help. HE takes all the credit though.)

I can rationalize that I'm Kevin's wife and that status bumps him down the food chain. I am an obstacle to Kevin, whom he is hyper-focused & neurotic about. Kevin said that the same issue arose with his first wife. It's not totally me, he would be this way with anyone Kevin was married to. 

Kevin has really been working on boundaries with him, so of course he's being resistant and it's got to be all my fault. There is no other rational explanation in his world.

A Study in Psychology:

He has told Kevin that "If I just knew why she didn't like me then..." which is a specific kind of ridiculous because he has no intention of changing.  Why would Kevin enter into that kind of discussion?  "Let's see, well, she thinks you're a mentally ill, selfish ass who abuses everyone around you. Can you work on that?"

He pulls focus to him, constantly. (see going to bed when your wife is injured and your son is recovering from dying)  If Kevin has a project that requires his attention, the brother will create a sudden problem so that Kevin's attention is required to be on him. In every restaurant, he will order steak. It's never right then sends it back then we have to wait and listen to him pretend to feel guilty about making us wait. (He ordered steak at a PIZZA place and then was pissed because it wasn't right. A PIZZA PLACE!)  

If we are watching sports at his house, he will pause it because he has to go into the kitchen, making a group of people wait until he returns. (think Super Bowl)  He hosts a pay-per-view sports event, makes extravagant dinners and CHARGES his friends.  (Kevin and I disagree on this one, he says it's okay because it costs him money. I say no because he chooses to host)

He acts as if Kevin's long-distance friends are also his friends. They have never spoken beyond social media comments. At most Kevin will put his phone on speaker so he can work while talking and he overhears.  He talks about them as if are besties. If Kevin friends someone on social media, he does (I hid him on facebook because GAH)  He'll tell stories of things he's done, when it's things that Kevin has done. 

Yet, he can change his behavior. He's had a long-term job. He's not such a dick when our friends are around but not always. A few of the friends can call him on it but most tolerate it because he's Kevin's brother. (he doesn't have his own friends, only Kevin's) The point being that he can be self-aware.  

Research and Strategies:

Because I'm a nerd, I researched this topic over the years.  How to deal with difficult family members, how to cope with toxic people, how to overcome childhood baggage, Dealing with Trauma and Trauma Responses, etc.  The advice is to lessen opportunities (check) not engage when behaviors arise (check) and suck it up, buttercup because family (check)  To mostly, no avail.

I disengage because it's what I need to do and in attempt to keep Kevin from being under fire.  Knowing that I trigger him, I lessen opportunities for interactions but that has proven unsuccessful.

If I be myself, he finds me offensive with me all being a girl with opinions and knowledge and stuff.  

If I'm not me and hold my tongue and/or withdraw myself from potential situations, it sucks to be me and bonus: I'm being disrespectful or inconsiderate.  

It just pisses me off that he is such a precious little fragile flower that everyone has to change to his expectations. If I hear "That's just him" once more, I'm moving to Narnia.  (Or "He's been in a good mood lately"  I threatened to punch people if I heard that ever again. Hello, trauma response.)

Kevin is stuck in the middle; because he becomes the mediator to keep the peace.   He has done a tremendous job at keeping some distance and creating boundaries.  He gets a lot of praise there. Sometimes though, Kevin is so used to his behavior that he doesn't always see it.  It's just become part of the scenery, which can be frustrating to me.  

While I can justify that he behaves this way because it's been allowed, it affects everything we do. If we go racing, he's there. If we go on vacation, he's there.  If we go outside, he's there. Holidays are spent at his house. (there is no changing that, to those of you who just thought "What about...")

Possible Resolutions:

Rinse and Repeat.  Because really, there's no other option.

Try to human more. Historically, I've found this unworkable.  

Example: After the fight, I walked out to the shop and the brother was unexpectedly there.  I decided I would try and looked directly at him when I walked in, creating an opportunity for engagement. He looked away.  I asked Kevin a question, he answered, I looked at the brother again and smiled.  He looked away. Sigh. (he would say "Well, she makes me uncomfortable" or "She never does so...")    

Or Kevin gets a praised/condescending "She was nice to me!" comment like I'm a misbehaving puppy.  

Wait until the parents pass/go into assisted living then interactions are significantly less.  We have not completely crossed off moving after this happens.

Crowd Sourcing:

Any advice/opinion is welcome.  My feelings are not easily hurt nor am I easily offended.   Evidence perhaps to the contrary.


Frankly, I know there is no solution to this. This post is just venting uselessly to the universe.  Maybe it will provide some entertainment or solidarity to others who also have difficult family members.  I hope that is the result.

12 September 2020

Operation Eradicate Ivy = Complete

Remember I said that I had ideas for the garden?  I'm pleased to say that they are done.  It is extremely helpful to have a husband who has access to any kind of materials you might want. Even if he is a little skeptical.  The smoke from the West Coast wildfires arrived yesterday, adding a little panic to getting this project finished.

So, where do I begin?  The IVY.

We have mostly eradicated the ivy.  I still see little signs here and there but it's where I don't care if it grows again. Unfortunately, we had to use the weed killer that is bad for humans and the environment.  Nothing else was having any effect on the ivy, other than annoyance.  

Then I had to remove the dead ivy, which was super fun.  *shaking my head*  The reason the ivy was allowed to grow in that area was that it covered a not easily accessible, steep part of the hill.  So even with my newly built stairs and rock cascade to balance on, it was a challenge. For the part on the right side, I climbed up the hill, sat on my bum, then slid on said bum to the bottom of the hill when I was finished.  

Ivy taking over everything

Dead ivy and bonus Lucy

Now, I had four pots of perennial plants that were along the house.  It was a struggle to get anything to grow there because the heat would reflect off of the house onto the plants. And, if we're being honest: watering plants isn't high on my list.  Also, Kevin didn't like them there because it felt like clutter to him.   (he's cute, that's why I keep him around)

Two of these plants were lavender.  I have a big lavender bush in the rock garden that makes the bees very content.  Kevin remarked on them and it clicked in my head that I should plant them instead of having them in pots.  But I'm out of space in the garden.  Like, seriously, out of space. The other two plants were supposed to cascade out of their pots but never really achieved that goal.  

My original plan was to plant what GiGi suggested but then the End Times came and I didn't want to go to the nursery.  So, I decided to use what I had.  A novel idea, I know.  With the theory that in proper homes, these plants will now cascade down.

The bank is clay so anything I plant has to be hardy. I know these plants have survived my neglect so we should be good. Also, this is where Kevin comes in: he brought topsoil and compost to help facilitate the success of anything planted. The bank is also held up/in by ferns.  Sadly, it's the time of year that the ferns are beginning to die but they are staying. When they're healthy, they're beautiful.  I also uncovered a hydrangea that I had transplanted and forgotten about. Now that it's uncovered from the ivy, it will grow next season, theoretically.  

Excuse the dying ferns and dead leaves. Fall arrived unexpectedly

I'm mostly satisfied how this turned out.  I'm waiting to see what the winter weather does.  It's possible that a good rain or snow will bring the compost/soil down into the yard. Kevin says it won't but what does he know? He's just a landscape materials expert.  

I messaged a photo to my BFF and they said "Almost done!"  It stalled me for a minute then I looked at it through their eyes.  That's where having rocks border this section came to be.  It did look unfinished.  I don't have a photo of it because when I use the snapchat, I forget to take a real photo too.  By adding the rocks, it will keep the grass away and hopefully be a little barrier to the weather. I might still add a few around the border, I haven't decided yet.

Okay, that was a lot just for that part of the garden.  Let's talk about 1,000 lbs. of rock.

It took almost 1,800 lbs of rock to do the original cascade.  Then Kevin brought another 500 lbs. to do the ivy section and to help fill in gaps.  He was a little surprised when I asked for MORE.  "Are you SURE?" he asked.  "I don't have time to help you" he said.  (he's in the middle of a big project now that the house is done)  Yep, I am ready.

Thursday night he brought home 1,000 lbs. of rock.  The smoke was already settling in but he got home late so I couldn't start until the next morning.  At 8:00 am, I was out there with a wheelbarrow and stubbornness; racing the incoming smoke. Luckily, my plan was for the cascade to not be as wide as the original one so the work went remarkably fast.

Two and a half hours later and I was done.  Kevin phoned twice to make sure I was still alive, had all my fingers, and remembered to go inside before I died.  Lucy sat in the truck the entire time, waiting to go get treats at the coffee stand.  I have a weird support system.

Much like the first time I did this kind of cascade, I started at the bottom.  Stacking rocks as they saw fit and sort of planning my way.  Mostly, I try to let the ground tell me where things should go.  I've had this vision in my head for YEARS so I was really hoping it would turn out as imagined.

Then I had to back up the truck to the top of the hill.  This part was more tricky than the first cascade because I had to unload in the road, walk through a gate and a few steps more, then place/bowl the rocks down the hill.  Like before, this part of the hill is unaccessible.

Like before, I made backstop of larger rocks about midway and had mild success.  The top is too steep to crawl down so I did the best I could, knowing that I would have to climb up to re-arrange later.  I took no photos because I was so focused on getting done before I needed my inhaler.  Know that there were rocks in the yard below, rocks in places I didn't intend, and a bit of cursing.


Wonky angles, I know.  I wish that I had documented more but you get the idea. In the before photo, the dead parts are from the eradication of the dreaded buttercups.  In the during photo, I had started the cascade but not finished the ivy replacement part. 

First photo was beginning of smoke, other two are in the midst of it.

It turned out mostly like I'd hoped.  The plan was to go trim the dead ferns and weeds but the smoke is making that impossible.  It will also look better when we have the landscaper weedwhack one last time before winter.

Imagine the ferns growing along the top then the cascade wending it's way down through grass, ferns, and allowed dandelions.  (because bees are more important than grass)  I'm also wondering about solar lights/fairy lights along that cascade.  We'll see.

Mostly I like how it transitions from structured English garden, to less structured, to wild.  That was my vision/hope.  

Panorama made the deck rail look wonky

View from the deck, featuring our current smoke monster 

I'm super happy that this is done before the Fall rains arrived, otherwise it would have been MudFest 2020.  It should be nice enough for a while that the grass  and some of the ferns will regrow before the first freeze.  

If the ivy returns after all of this work, then I concede defeat.  

11 September 2020

An Update from the I.T. Department

You will notice as you read that I had A LOT of coffee when I wrote this.  Sorry/Not Sorry. 

 Hey, guess what? The internet was broken again today.  What's funny about this is that this morning I thought to myself "The internet hasn't been broken for a while"  Then fast forward hours and voila! my mother-in-law phones.  Magic.

Allow me some nerdery for one moment:  Because of where we live, we can only have wireless hotspots.  Because they're not intended for home use, per se, the connection can get wonky; especially if the network is busy.   

We've tried other wireless providers but because of where we live, the same issue exists. They  share the same towers and/or tower locations so don't believe the hype.  We've tried satellite internet and it was worse, if that's possible.  Cable, etc. internet is not available because of banjoland.  

Now, here's another thing to know: After a certain amount of internet (trying to keep the nerdery down) is used, the internet is throttled. (slowed)  This can be infuriating when you need internet and can't get it.  I mean, it's slower than dial-up and reminds me of my shortcomings on the regular.  

School began last week and the internet was almost useless.  I couldn't work because my work computer requires more than smoke signals from the interwebs.  Out of desperation, I searched for internet providers near me.  (Do y'all know that trick? On your phone: search place or thing "near me" and it will give you results within like a 25 mile radius)  


Everything is done online these days and I don't hate it.  I checked two providers and got a no from both.  Then I tried another company and they said yes.  Hmmm.  Seems unlikely but I scheduled an appointment.  

I told Kevin that the site says we have service here and he was equally as skeptical.  For one, his brother says that he checked everywhere (he didn't) about a year ago.  "Well, that was a year ago..." was the only nice response in my possession.  

But still, I kept my hopes to a minimum.  I'm not a looking forward to something person anyway because I've just had too much life experience.  This kind of hurts Kevin's feelings but there's not much I can do.

The tech was Hours late.  Of course, they give you the "Between 8-Noon" window that everyone loves. I had to actually call out of work, which is weird during the End Times.  At 11:30 am, I phoned the company to make sure it was still a thing.  Again: I am a hope for the best, plan for the worst, keep my expectations low, kinda girl. 

The service rep was LOVELY.  It feels like that doesn't happen often so I felt a tiny glimmer of hope.

Two hours later, the tech got here.  Totally apologetic and helpful.  And all techs are teenagers now. Or is that just me? lolsigh.

He was skeptical about us having service here because of WHERE WE LIVE (ugh) and because it's DSL.  This is dying/dead technology almost as it comes into our house via phone lines.  I had to explain that we hadn't had landlines since 2006 and he laughed "Most people don't".

I used one of Kevin's tricks and asked him "What would YOU do?"  He stalled, "I've never been asked that question before."  I know, that's why it's a great question. (Thank you, Kev.)   He said because it's not MY time being wasted (it's his and he's "Being paid anyway.") and there's no obligation, give it a try.  So I did.

He had to drive a mile and a half to the closest junction to wire it to our house.  This is where I'm thinking "And there it is: the glitch."  Also, I figured he would be here until dark but it actually didn't take very long.  He also came into the house, set up everything and was gone pretty quickly.

Because I'm a nerd, I'm immediately trying all.the.things.  I sent a short video to Kevin of Hamilton playing on my work computer.  "So it works!" he says after immediately calling me.  Just that tiny thing of having Hamilton play on my computer was everything.

Still, I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop.  I connected the satellite and it was "Meh, I'll think about it."  I connected the tablets and they, too, were "Meh." Now I'm feeling vindicated in my skepticism.  Then my laptop worked fine so now I was puzzled.  

Somewhere along the way, I realized that it had to be hard-wired.  If I connect via wifi then it's not great.  If I connect via an ethernet cable, then I'm in business.  

It's like a Whole New World.  We could never stream or download television and now we CAN.  It takes a fifty-foot ethernet cable strung across the house but it WORKS so my care level is sub-terrainian.  Oh, and I can continue to work from home but whatever.  I can stream movies.

Back to the internet is broken part.  This is longer than I anticipated. 

Just a reminder that the parents cell phones and internet is on our account.  It's out of my pocket when something goes wrong and I am the IT Department.  Now I have a dilemma. I've solved our internet issues AND I'm still keeping the hotspots until I know FOR REAL that this is going to work. After I know For Real, then I will pare down our internet account so I'm not paying for the cell phone company's Turks & Caicos vacations.

I mentioned to Kevin that I wasn't going to switch the parents because too much hassle.  I have to choose my battles these days.  Kevin balked a tiny bit and I accquiesced: If it turns out the best thing ever then I'll consider it.  It's $45 monthly for DSL versus only $25 monthly for their internet. But the possibility of the internet not being broken again is enticing.  

Then I remembered someone here on the bloggity mentioned that maybe a landline phone isn't a terrible idea for the parents.  It's up for discussion again because we're hearing "She doesn't answer her phone" more and more.  The issue being: one more technological thing to teach them and we would still have to pay for their cell phones. 

Okay, where was I?  Oh, the internet is broken.

My mother-in-law phoned to tell me the internet is broken.  I'd been working all day so I told her I'd be over there in a little while.  An hour and some deep breathing exercises later, I went over.  I masked up because I had just been to my office and we saw the kids this weekend.  She is 100% surprised that a) I masked up and 2) that I went to work.  (she'll regularly ask Kevin "But you showered, you can come in?")

First she said that it hasn't been working for a few days.  When I sternly mentioned for the eleventieth time that she needs to let us know, she amended it to it just started.  "But you just said it has been a few days".  At this point my father-in-law heads outside.  I don't blame him.   Oh and CNN is still on SHOUT.

She counters with "But sometimes I don't realize that it's not working!"  To which, I repeated "But you just said that it's been a few days."  Then I regained my sanity and stopped talking.

I took everything into the shop and fixed her internet.  It was just slow because all.of.the.reasons. However, she does use a truckload of data.  In this instance, she has tapped out all of her data and it doesn't replenish until Monday.  She has her tablet on constantly and usually it's games playing, even if she's not paying attention.  Essentially, she's a pacman of data.  We cannot get her to grasp the whole "Turn it off when you aren't using it" thing.  It's like raising teenagers, for real though.

When you reach a data cap, this is what the teenager at the phone store told me: To circumvent the system, buy a separate SID card and switch it out when the data limit is reached.  GENIUS.  He said that gamers do this all the time so then I felt a little cool. (not really)  Instead of a $35 one-time boost, it's a $20 charge that renews each month if you use it.

With the change of internet provider, I now have spare SID cards.  I switched hers out and declared it "fixed."  Because there is zero way to tell her that she's exceeding her limits without there being some sort of melodrama.  "I'll pay for it"  "I won't play my games" or the chestnut: "It wasn't me who used all the data."  I did remind her that the internet will just be slow now for a while.

Meanwhile, I didn't tell her that I noticed she personal messaged a realtor in Maryland.  Because no, she didn't. The realtor had not responded so that's good.  She had also friended her grand-daughter's best friend's teenaged son.  I'll be undoing that tomorrow.  And her daughter-in-law's (not me) crackhead brother.  (I literally call him "Crackhead Bob."  

Oh, and look, this is what her social media looks like every single time I log into it:


Let's sum up:

Keep trying with different providers in your area if you live in banjoland like I do.  Things do change.

Buy extra SID cards if you have data-limits on your device

If your wi-fi is not great, use an ethernet cable instead. (they come in 50 ft. lengths)

Mask up. Yes, even if you just showered.

This is me when I'm over-caffeinated. 

05 September 2020

Two Outta Three

One of the things to know about me is that I tend to go head-long into things without thinking them through or fully paying attention.  This makes me super fun to live with, for sure.

This week though, man.  Consequences of my own in-attention.  

It was a busy week; full of work, projects, and errands.  I haven't had one of those kinds for weeks for a while so it was fun but a little dizzying at the same time.  

So, the other day I was going into the grocery store.  Hurrying, not paying attention, and tripped on my own feet.  Only I could trip on my own feet.  Down I go onto the sidewalk.  Bounced right back up like nothing happened and proceeded into the store.  Thank you adrenaline.  Also, if you don't look: you're not hurt.  (remember this in a minute)

First off, when I broke my foot off my leg, they taught me in physical therapy not to use my broken leg/foot to catch myself if I ever fell. This is intended for me not to rebreak anything.  Yeah, that didn't stick in my brain.  (it's all good, no need for worry)  I'm thankful that it didn't because I ended up with just a skinned elbow and a scratched phone case.  It coulda/shoulda been a little worse.

But it's still not great:

I feel silly because who falls anymore?  ME.  I look like a six-year-old with skinned elbows and/or bandaids on my arm.  One doesn't realize how much you use an elbow until you take the skin off of it.

Now fast forward ONE DAY.  Just one.  Remember I said that I had ideas about the garden?  Well, I started on it and it required more 4-8 rock like I used before.  I finished one section then decided to begin the other part of the project.

This was the day that I had to work here at home, go into the office, run errands and take Lucy for walkies.  This is where I say again that I might not have been paying attention.

I wear these really great gloves that were given to us that are thin but grippy.  The problem with being my size is that gloves are always too big for me.  I was wearing gloves though.  I was trying to be safe.

A particularly big rock was being placed on the path I'm making when it shifted.  I felt it go and pulled my hand back just in time for my glove to catch between the rocks and thusly my finger.  

At first I thought "Well, that didn't feel good but it could have been worse..." and began to work again. But a few minutes later, I thought...."Is that...blood?"  So I reluctantly took off the glove.  Like Kevin said "Nothing is more scary than taking off your glove because you think there's blood."  Yeah buddy.

There wasn't blood.  Well, there was, just not outside of my skin.  My finger had immediately swollen, blackened, and bruised.  Go figure.

Like a little kid, I was fine until I saw that I was actually hurt.  Then I got a little mad because that is the correct response for this situation.*shaking my head*  *hello trauma response*    I went into the house, grabbed an ice-pack and sat down with my hand above my head for fifteen minutes.  And pouted.

Oooh boy did it swell up.  The skin was super tight and I thought I was going to have to call Kevin.  But I kept flexing my hand, took an ibuprofen, and went back to work.  Like you do. 

By the end of the day, it looked like this:

It's sore but not broken. I think the bruise is going to be there for a while and the fate of the fingernail remains uncertain.  It's darker today.  (the black on the other fingernail is paint. I only hit the one finger)
My elbow is actually the thing that hurts worse.  Go figure.

I believe that things come in threes.  I've had this proven to me too many times to discount.  I'm on number two so I'm waiting for number three.  I'm out of rock for now so not to worry. I was going to finish paint the tool shed today but it feels like that should maybe wait.